Jeanne Gang is about to make her New York debut, as the Chicago-based architect just unveiled the latest project planned to border New York City’s beloved High Line. The 180,000 square-foot office tower with ground level retail will replace an existing, disused meatpacking plant along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets. It will feature a “gem-like”, glass facade that is intelligently shaped to avoid the disruption of light, air and views from the High Line. Dubbed the Solar Carve Tower, the mid-rise structure is currently pending city approval and is planned for completion in 2015. Continue after the break for the architects’ description. New York City’s 1916 Zoning Resolution, which required that skyscrapers be set back from the street as they rise upward, was the first American law to address the tall building’s relationship to the space of the city. By putting rules in place to ensure the public’s right to sunshine and fresh air without explicitly limiting the height of the highrise, early planners and elected officials were able to prioritize public benefit over the private interests of unlimited floor area and bulk. Ralph Knowles, a professor at the University of Southern California in the 1980s, extended the concept of solar access as a zoning principle by introducing “the solar envelope” as a guide to shaping building form. When a new building adheres to the boundaries developed by Knowles’ research, solar access for neighboring properties is maintained during the key energy-receiving times of day and season. Sunlight is treated as a valuable resource, and everyone’s right to harvest it is ensured.
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